Rock­ing­ham man’s gen­er­ous do­na­tion

Weekend Courier - - Front Page - Vic­to­ria Ri­fici

A MAN who was home­less for three years, now turned gar­dener, has re­ceived a $5000 car from a gen­er­ous donor to help kick-start his new ca­reer.

New Zealan­der Joseph Hatu was liv­ing on the streets of Man­durah, de­pressed and sui­ci­dal, un­til he was pulled out of the dark­ness by Halo and WA Home­less Ad­vo­cate.

“I lost my job as an op­er­a­tor on the mines so I had no choice but to turn to the streets,” Mr Hatu said.

“I was eat­ing out of bins, look­ing for scraps, but not once did I beg or make peo­ple feel sorry for me.”

Mr Hatu said if it was not for the gen­eros­ity of WA Home­less Ad­vo­cate owner Owen Farmer, he would not be where he is to­day.

“I’ve owned the car for 12 years and it was time for me to up­grade,” Mr Farmer said.

“I could’ve made money out of sell­ing the car but I was more than will­ing to give it away to Joseph so he can use it to get around with his gar­den­ing busi­ness.

“I just wanted to do the right thing by some­one.”

Halo man­ager Dee Fre­itag said Joseph would not ac­cept help from them when they first met be­cause he could not pay his way.

“One day I ap­proached him and asked him why he was on the street and why he wasn’t ap­ply­ing at our Halo house and he said ‘some­one else needs it more than me’,” she said.

“Even­tu­ally I said to him ‘why don’t you start your own gar­den­ing busi­ness, which would help you pay your rent, your ac­com­mo­da­tion?’.

“It took ages to con­vince him but I fi­nally did it.”

Mr Hatu has since re­ceived Halo’s help with ac­com­mo­da­tion at its safe house, iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, cloth­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing his gar­den­ing busi­ness named Tumeke.

“I thought gar­den­ing was a ser­vice peo­ple re­quired be­cause some are busy and don’t have time to gar­den. I’ve had nine clients in three weeks of start­ing my busi­ness and four of them are al­ready keen to stick with me in the fu­ture,” he said.

“It will take a while for me to get there, as the jobs that I do will pay for the tools I need for the job, but you have to spend money to make money.”

Mr Hatu said be­cause of his New Zealand cit­i­zen­ship, he has had dif­fi­cul­ties claim­ing Cen­tre­link as­sis­tance.

“Halo has given me en­cour­age­ment and all I needed was a hand up, not a hand­out,” he said.

Mr Hatu said he would hope oth­ers who were in a sit­u­a­tion like home­less­ness.

“My ad­vice to oth­ers in my sit­u­a­tion is to go on, give it a go you mug,” he said.­mu­ni­ d478579 Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son

Kath Palmer, Halo’s Dee Fre­itag, Joseph Hatu and Owen Farmer with the car Joseph will use to launch his gar­den­ing busi­ness.

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